How SMS Prevents HIV in Mozambique

U-Reports promotes participation and counselling on sexual and reproductive health

UNICEF Innovation
Raima Manjate, 20 years old and a peer Counsellor with SMS BIZ.
UNICEF/UN0246041/Fauvrelle
03 August 2016

The original story was published in The Daily Vox on 19 July 2016.

According to UNICEF, ownership of cell phones by young people has never been so high, and will continue to increase. Cell phones have the potential to foster an open dialogue around issues of sexuality, reproductive health, and HIV prevention. Moreover, adolescents and young people want more information as they explore their sexuality, they want individualised channels that would respect their privacy, and they want to be at the centre of the response to their challenges.

Using Short Message Service (SMS) messages, it allows individual subscribers to ask questions about issues, to get real time answers and to share information with other users – ‘U-reporters’ – across the country.
UNICEF/UNI173706/Griggers
Using Short Message Service (SMS) messages, individual subscribers can ask questions about issues, to get real time answers and to share information with other users – ‘U-reporters’ – across the country.

As a result, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has partnered with a line of government ministries in Mozambique to launch U-Report, a youth-led SMS service that promotes participation and counselling of young people and adolescents on sexual and reproductive health and HIV/AIDS.

U-Report Mozambique helps adolescents and young people express the problems they face in their community and help UNICEF and the government learn which issues to be addressed.

Children learn about HIV/AIDS prevention, during a training session run by the Mozambique Red Cross, at Mudurini Primary School in Maganja da Costa District in Zambézia Province.
UNICEF/UNI27826/LeMoyne
Children learn about HIV/AIDS prevention, during a training session run by the Mozambique Red Cross, at Mudurini Primary School in Maganja da Costa District in Zambézia Province.

Francelino Murela. U-Report Programme and SMS biz Manager in Mozambique shared

“We currently have 36,428 young people registered users on the system since its launch in October 2015. Our plan is to reach 50,000 adolescents and young people by the end of 2016 in the four provinces that the programme is currently running”

He added that “the confidentiality provided to young people using the SMS service is key in reaching young people because privacy is important to them. “Most of the information given is available at local clinics but young people are scared to go to clinics because they don’t want to be seen by their family relatives – stigma and discrimination are real challenges for young people."